Press-Republican

Columns

September 2, 2012

Making quality feed

I often field questions about common farming practices that are a mystery to those who don’t live or work on a farm. With larger farms, larger equipment and farm machinery is required to efficiently till, plant, fertilize and harvest the increasingly larger quantities of feed required.

On top of that, some of the newer methods of crop harvesting are much different from the old days. Large white tubes lining the roadside, huge mounds of black plastic covered with old tires and huge rectangular bales of hay on tractor trailers are common sights on today’s modern farms.

For the local dairy farmers who depend on the quality of their crops to make milk, hay harvesting nowadays is usually done by making haylage. Haylage is hay that is mowed and harvested while still at a high enough moisture content to support fermentation. It can be chopped and ensiled in silos, bunks or ag bags; or it can be baled as large round bales that are wrapped in plastic or stuffed into giant tubes.

The purpose of the silos or plastic tubing is to exclude oxygen from the forage to allow for fermentation. Lactobacillus bacteria convert the carbohydrates in the plants into lactic acid. They continue to produce lactic acid and lower the pH of the forage until they can no longer function. At this point, the hay is essentially pickled and can be stored for quite some time without loss of quality.

The silage-making process has several benefits. One of the major advantages is that the hay crop can be harvested when it is ready during almost any weather conditions. In order to harvest high-quality forage, it must be cut early in the spring to maximize the protein, digestibility and palatability of the feed. Without having to wait for three or four days of hot, sunny weather, farmers can cut and harvest their hay crop in 24 to 36 hours or less.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Columns
  • Tobias_Sue_012914.jpg World in palm of our hands

    A newsroom workshop made writer Susan Tobias realize how far technology has come since she started working at the Press-Republican.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mulholland_Jonathan.jpg Running tips to get you in top form

    Different limb lengths, tighter muscles, stiffer joints, prior injuries all play role in determining your running style, Jonathan Mulholland writes.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • clute_cropped.jpg When children are put at risk

    Adults who deal drugs, commit domestic violence and other crimes with kids present are guilty of yet another crime, writes columnist Penny Clute.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Walace_Jolene 7-12_cropped.jpg Let these tips on planting trees take root

    You may think that digging a hole and plopping the tree in will suffice, and it will if you only want the tree to live a short time, columnist Jolene Wallace writes.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • ouellette.jpg Web doctor always gets it right

    I have access to the collected medical knowledge of all recorded history at my fingertips, columnist Steve Ouellette writes.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • colin_read.jpg Airport projects can benefit local economy

    Using a local workforce keeps wages and spending in the community if it can be done in a cost-effective manner, according to columnist Colin Read.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gast_Richard.jpg Producers can recycle tubing

    Project allows maple-syrup makers to conveniently dispose of their used tubing in an environmentally friendly way, according to columnist Richard Gast.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Terry_Mattingly.jpg Easter with doubters and the 'nones'

    Should more pastors ask this blunt question: "Do you really believe Jesus was raised from the dead?" wonders religion columnist Terry Mattingly.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Black_Peter_2014_cropped.jpg Canadiens are Canada's team

    The National Hockey League playoffs are underway, and for Canadiens fans, many of whom likely reside in the Montreal "suburb" of Plattsburgh, it is a time of hope and joy.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • amy_ivy.jpg Is it time to plant? Not yet

    All we can do is wait and see how things get through, columnist Amy Ivy writes.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

Peter Black: Canadian Dispatch

Lois Clermont, Editor

Cornell Cooperative Extension

Richard Gast: Cornell Ag Extension

Bob Grady

Guest Columns

Peter Hagar: Cornell Ag Connection

Health Advice

Ray Johnson: Climate Science
Gordie Little: Small Talk

Terry Mattingly: On Religion

Steve Ouellette: You Had To Ask

Colin Read: Everybody's Business

Pinch of Time